NATIONAL

386er knighted

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  • Published : Mar 30, 2010 - 16:08
  • Updated : Mar 30, 2010 - 16:08
The history of diplomatic relations is not just one of two countries engaging in official talks; it is one of profound friendship and gestures by individuals in all spheres.
While presidents talk the talk, parliamentarians are generally at the front lines building stronger relations between the two countries.
One person in particular that helped to bring relations between France and Korea to higher levels of mutual respect is also a man who fought hard for the democratization and human rights issues of this country.
Song Young-gil was awarded the title of Knight of the French Legion of Honor by French Ambassador Philippe Thiebaud recently for his dedication and commitment to the revival of parliamentary talks between France and Korea.
Song was notably instrumental in the first visit to Korea of a French parliamentarian`s delegation.
"He was interested in Korea`s relations with its foreign partners and headed the Korea-France Friendship Association at the National Assembly," said Thiebaud. "This shows how committed he is in creating strong diplomatic relations between both countries` parliamentarians."
Song chaired the Korea-France Parliamentarian`s Friendship Association during his second term at the National Assembly from 2004-2008.
During his tenure at the National Assembly, Song introduced serious questions about today`s society by formulating and introducing several important legislative laws into the books.
"While we are celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it`s my pleasure that France honors Song, a man who fought for human rights in Korea and helped to bring about democracy in Korea," Thiebaud said.
Song is a three-term member of the National Assembly from the Democratic Party.
A lawyer and pro-democracy advocate, he was elected to the National Assembly in 2000.
He has served on the committees for finance and economy, legislation and judiciary and intelligence as well as health, welfare and family affairs. He also served as general secretary of the Uri Party and senior vice chairman of the party`s policy committee.
Song is a practicing attorney and holds degrees in business administration and Chinese language and literature from Yonsei University and Korea National Open University.
He was also one of the key members of the 386 generation, a group of activists who fought for human rights and the democratization of this country.
Created in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte, the Legion of Honor is the highest award given by the French government, regardless of social status or nationality of the recipients.
It is divided into five degrees in which the French president is the Grand Master of the Order.
The order`s motto is "Honor and Fatherland," and its seat is the Palace of the Legion of Honor on the left bank of the River Seine in Paris.
By Yoav Cerralbo

(yoav@heraldcorp.com)